Thursday, June 8, 2017

These ISIS-Fighting Philippine Tanks Are Clad in DIY Wooden "Armor"

From Popular Mechanics (Jun 7): These ISIS-Fighting Philippine Tanks Are Clad in DIY Wooden "Armor"

Wood armor on armored vehicles won't save them from ISIS rockets.

New pictures from the fighting between Philippine government forces and guerrillas aligned with the Islamic State show armored vehicles with ad hoc wood armor. The images of the Philippine Army Cadillac Gage V-150 armored car, circulated on Twitter, show it covered with discarded ammunition crates and salvaged wood. The wooden armor is supposed to protect it from man-portable anti-tank weapons— another image showed a RPG-2 rocket-propelled anti-tank grenade launcher captured from ISIS troops.

The armor is well-meaning, but probably not up to the job. So could wood armor actually work?

Arms cache found in Marawi City, Philippines. RPG-2 anti-tank grenade launcher on right.
Via Twitter.

RPGs and other infantry anti-tank weapons use so-called high explosive anti-tank (HEAT) technology, also known as shaped charges. The shaped charge was first demonstrated by Charles Munroe, a professor at the U.S. Naval Academy, in 1888. A cone-shaped cavity is placed against a slab of metal, or tank armor, and an explosive charge is detonated behind it. The cavity channels the force of the explosion through the cone to the tip. This enables a shaped charge warhead to penetrate armor up to seven times the diameter of the charge.

The result is that a handheld rocket launcher such as the RPG-2 can penetrate more than 180 millimeters of steel armor. This is more than enough to pierce the armor of a V-150 armored car, which is designed to stop bullets with a diameter of 7.62-millimeters or smaller.

To be effective, wooden armor would have to do one of two things: stand away from the vehicle's hull, or be plenty thick. In the first case, building a "cage" of wood armor would do the trick. This would cause the RPG warhead to detonate against the wood and burn through the "armor," but dissipate before it actually reached the vehicle's surface. Think of the cage armor that protects U.S. Army Stryker interim armored vehicles. It actually doesn't matter what the cage is made of as long as the material is hard enough to trigger the contact fuze.

If a cage isn't available, then a lot of wood would help. At least a foot of wood armor might do the trick to dissipate the armor-piercing molten jet. Maybe. The distance between the slat armor on the Stryker and the actual surface of the vehicle might be a good hint at how thick wood armor ought to be.

 DoD photo.

Of course, wooden armor would be absolutely useless against kinetic energy anti-tank rounds. Modern armor-piercing ammo, which is basically a giant tungsten or depleted uranium dart fired at supersonic speeds, would cut through wood like a hot knife through butter. Fortunately those types of anti-tank weapons are mounted only on full-size tanks, of which ISIS in the Philippines has none.

Suspected Maute financier shot dead

From Philippine News (Jun 7): Suspected Maute financier shot dead (By John Unson (The Philippine Star)

Suspected Maute financier shot dead

Nago Balindong’s wife Noraya is placed under the custody of PDEA-ARMM. JOHN UNSON

LANAO DEL SUR , Philippines – Lawmen shot dead a suspected drug lord and financier of the Maute group during a firefight in Malabang town before dawn yesterday.

Nago Balindong reportedly tried to shoot it out with lawmen serving an arrest warrant when he was killed at his hideout in Barangay Jose Abad Santos in Malabang.

His wife Noraya Santican Balindong, a barangay official, was arrested after the shootout.

Lawmen recovered several sachets of shabu, a pistol and two grenades.

Officials said Balindong is among the most wanted drug dealers in this province.

Army and police intelligence sources also said Balindong had links with the Maute group.

Captain Arvin Encinas, public affairs officer of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said the anti-narcotics operation also resulted in the arrest of three of Balindong’s henchmen identified as Bocari and Camaloden, both surnamed Balindong, and Tingaraan Boro-Boro.

Encinas said the police acted on information pointing to the hideout of Balindong.

He added military intelligence agents also received information that Balindong is among the financiers of the Maute gunmen now the target of massive military operations in Marawi City.

NPA setbacks in Agusan, Maguindanao

From the Manila Bulletin (Jun 7): NPA setbacks in Agusan, Maguindanao

San Francisco, Agusan del Sur– Three Communist insurgents were captured Tuesday, while seven New People’s Army (NPA) guerillas gave themselves up Wednesday.
Army troopers, who were on foot patrol in a remote village of the Municipality of Veruela in Agusan del Sur captured on three rebels who were carrying sacks loaded with firearms and ammunitions.

Elements of the 26th Infantry Battalion collared the Bernie S. Perez alias Ariel, Joel S. Perez, alias Jo, and Niño S. Perez, alias Onin.
Local police said Bernie S. Perez had a standing warrant of arrest for murder.

Recovered from them were two improvised explosive devices with blasting caps and wires, an M16 Armalite rifle, an M1 Garand rifle, a caliber 45 pistol, a caliber 38 revolver and several rounds of ammunitions, according to a military report of the incident.

Meanwhile, elements of the Army’s First Mechanized Infantry Battalion on Wednesday welcomed six New Peoples’ Army rebels, including two amazons, back to the fold of the law when they surrendered in simple ceremonies in Barangay Kamasi, Ampatuan, Maguindanao.
Capt. John Arvin Encinas, speaking for the Sixth Infantry Division, identified the rebels as Elsie Absalon, Fatima Sabnol Tubalay, Adog Jan Gonde, Dadok Ebus, alias “Kohan”; Banol Ebus, alias Ben; and Dante Sapakas, alias “Bosing”.
Encinas said the surrenderers turned over three long barrel homemade shotguns, one Armalite M-16 rifle, one homemade M-14 rifle, and one 40 mm M-79 grenade launcher with assorted magazines and ammunition.
Their surrender, Encinas said, came after four NPA rebels belonging to the Manobo tribe surrendered to the military on June 1 due to failed promises by communist rebel leaders.

Encinas said the increasing number of rebels returning to the fold of the law is an indication the communist movement has been losing mass base support.

Suspected Reds blast mining equipment, attack Lepanto tailings dam in Benguet

From InterAksyon (Jun 8): Suspected Reds blast mining equipment, attack Lepanto tailings dam in Benguet

Suspected communist rebels struck in Mancayan town, Benguet province late Wednesday night, blasting the equipment of a foreign ore processor with explosives and attacking the tailings dam of the Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company where they were foiled by Army troops.

Mankaykan Mayor Materno Luspian confirmed receiving a call shortly past midnight Thursday about explosions and the sounds of a firefight but said he has yet to receive confirmation from the police if fighters of the New People’s Army’s Jennifer Cariño Command, which operates in the province, were involved.

The Mankayan police confirmed receiving a call around 10 p.m. Wednesday that the tailings dam in Barangay Cabiten was being attacked.

The rebels have yet to issue a statement acknowledging or denying responsibility for the attacks.

Police reports said a backhoe and a lime slaking machine at a “carbon in pulp” facility operated by a Korean investor in Cabatuan, Barangay Colalo were blasted by what workers said were seven heavily armed men and a woman. The facility processes leftover ore that the investor buys from Lepanto.

A police outpost in the village was also destroyed.

Police also said the security division of Lepanto reported that the attempt by the rebels to blast heavy equipment parked on the tailings dam was foiled by the arrival of soldiers.

A construction worker was reportedly grazed in the leg by a bullet during the firefight.

Two unexploded bombs were later found planed on a backhoe and a dump truck.

The Police Regional Office-Cordillera said the incident is still being investigated and clearing operations are underway.

Last month, guerrillas of the Jennifer Cariño Command raided a police substation in Loo, Buguias town, disarming the personnel on duty without a single shot fired.

Marawi City ex-Mayor Fajad Salic arrested for rebellion

From Rappler (Jun 8): Marawi City ex-Mayor Fajad Salic arrested for rebellion

It is not clear if Salic’s arrest is related to the Marawi siege. Last week, Western Mindanao Command’s Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez hinted at the forthcoming arrest of politicians supporting the Maute Group.

ARRESTED. A police photo of Fajad Salic, arrested June 7, 2017. Photo courtesy PNP

ARRESTED. A police photo of Fajad Salic, arrested June 7, 2017. Photo courtesy PNP

The former mayor of Marawi City, Fajad Umpar Salic, was arrested by the Misamis Oriental Police Public Safety Company on Wednesday night, June 7, in Barangay San Martin, Villanueva, Misamis Oriental.

Regional Police spokesperson Superintendent Lemuel Gonda said Salic was arrested for violating article 134 of the revised penal code.

Article 134 defines rebellion and how it is committed. According to Article 134, the crime of rebellion or insurrection is committed by rising publicly and taking arms against the Government for the purpose of removing from the allegiance to said Government or its laws, the territory of the Philippine Islands or any part thereof, of any body of land, naval or other armed forces, depriving the Chief Executive or the Legislature, wholly or partially, of any of their powers or prerogatives (As amended by R.A. 6968).

It is not clear, however, if Salic’s arrest is related to the on-going armed conflict in Marawi City – which started on May 23, 2017 when military operatives wanted to capture Maute Group leader Abdullah and Omar Maute, but instead found Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon.

Western Mindanao Command Commander Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez in a press conference last week hinted that the Marawi siege involves politicians, private armed groups and narco-politics supporting the Maute group.

Galvez also said that they already know who are the politicians supporting the Maute group and they will be arrested.

It is also not clear if Salic’s arrest was covered by a warrant of arrest or if it is a warrantless arrest.

Salic was wearing a plain white t-shirt when he was process at the Villanueva Police Station and his white SUV was also processed.

Rappler tried to call Supt Gonda to get clearer picture on the arrest of Salic, but on his social media message, he said that information on Salic’s arrest will be made available on Thursday as per direction of regional police director Chief Supt. Agripino Javier.